The latest news update from our BMS link missionaries Alan and Megan Barker out in Nepal
Let's talk about something else!
Since we cannot give you the news we are all waiting to hear regarding Megan finally getting the long-awaited visa, we are going to tell you about a recent trip to Surkhet in diary format as written by Megan.
However, before that, just so you know, things have moved forward with Megan's visa process with us being told, 'Finally, your file is at the Ministry of Home Affairs so…need your original passport for verification…by the Ministry of Home Affairs. Once the Home Ministry approves the file 90% of the work is done.' However, we continue to 'watch this space' as we have kind of been here before. This does feel a bit more hopeful though. Also great timing as the passport needed to be in Kathmandu at the same time Megan did! She was attending the national OT meetings.
Please keep praying remembering that, as it stands now, Megan can only remain in country until 17th May, on a tourist visa with all the limitations that go with it.
Also the process has now begun for Alan's renewal as his current visa expires end of June. He made a quick dash to Kathmandu on 1st April to get a police check and has submitted all the documents requested at this stage.
The Nepali Partnership Manager, Hira, who we mentioned in our last letter, has now started work, so Alan is busy settling him in and hoping to gradually hand work over. Then he can sit and put his feet up. Or not!!
Monday 25th March
6 am the vehicle came to collect us and then we picked up our other two travelling companions, before setting off on what was to be a 'mere' 12-hour trip to Surkhet. On arrival we let our family know we had arrived safely and got this response from one of our sons: “Can you believe that we are so well adjusted to Nepal that a 12 hour journey is considered a good journey!!”
Tuesday 26th March
Office based for most of the day. Catching up and making plans for the rest of the week. Did manage a quick trip down to the government hospital where INF has built a centre for the treatment of obstetric fistulas. Had been asked to see a patient there. Exercise programme taught and toilet assessment completed. Able to pop in and say hi to our pastor's family before going back to our friend's house for the evening and night.
Wednesday 27th March
7 am vehicle arrived ready for our trip out to the villages to see some of the patients that have had INF input over the years. Alan came with me this time. Always good for communicating with donors when one has first hand experience of what is being reported. I had forgotten just how much I love to do this despite the terrible roads. So great to see people in their own environment, doing well and continuing to thrive at home. Met with 7 different people, most known to us but a couple of new ones too. Got back to our friend's house at around 6:30
Thursday 28th March
7 am vehicle arrived for next day of visits, heading in the opposite direction. This time another BMS worker, Pippa, came with me. She is a physio by profession who also came with me to Surkhet when I visited last November and is helping me to support the newly qualified physio that has been appointed to run the therapy department in Surkhet. Not such a long day, we were back by 5pm! More encouraging moments as we met with people who are looking well and enjoying life despite being wheelchair bound.
Friday 29th March
Back in the office and also down to see Monday's patient to issue the toilet seat that had arrived. Checked that she could remember the exercises she will need to continue to do at home: she is due to be discharged very soon.
Saturday 30th March
Vehicle arrived at 6 am (another early start) for the 12- hour trip back to Pokhara. Another good journey with no problems. We have a great landlord, who greeted us with the fact that dinner was ready, and we were expected to join them. Nice meal and we also gave a bit of help with the landlord's sons' preparations for their exams the next day. And so to bed, weary but content that it had been a good trip with much to celebrate.
As we write this letter, the news here is full of the effects of a violent thunderstorm that hit some areas south of Kathmandu, killing at least 30 people and injuring more than 650. Many houses have been damaged and relief efforts are continuing to support those affected. INF Nepal, who we work for here, have sent a small team from the Disaster Response and Resilience Department to help distribute health kits.
We give thanks that we could visit again the people we helped in Surkhet and to discover their ongoing progress.
Please remember those people hit by the terrible storms and also those trying to get to them with aid and assistance. Also, continue to remember our visa needs.
Other than that continue to pray that we might have ongoing wisdom in dealing with all the changes going on in INF and how we can be most helpful within that, especially as we draw alongside those we work with, seeking to encourage and build more skills.
We once again thank you for all your love and support. Always lovely to hear your news too; that's been longer ago for some than others (hint hint!!). We especially love to receive post. So, in case you have lost it, our postal address is PO Box 5 Pokhara Nepal
Love to you all
Alan and Megan